Hayfa Alrasheed

 Hayfa Alrasheed was born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she lived under the customs of a religiously patriarchal society. She grew up in an environment where the men made the decisions, and the women were subordinate. For an opinionated child with a strong sense of justice, this was a torturous upbringing. She found solace in drawing, and from 6 years old she began exploring and developing her artistic talents. Drawing allowed her to discover a visual outlet through which she was able to express thoughts and emotions as lines and shades. Higher education granted her access to additional forms of expression. Studying architecture at Prince Sultan University exposed her to digital techniques, which she readily embraced and incorporated into her art.  As she experimented and practiced with both traditional and contemporary media, her art evolved into a personal language. Through this language, she found an ability to express otherwise indescribable emotions, a means of articulating the innermost feelings that are too potent for words.

 Hayfa’s drawings are intensely personal. They are a continuing biography of her struggles and victories in life. Her art powerfully conveys all the pain, heartbreak, and betrayals she has experienced, but also the tremendous underlying strength and yearning for freedom. Much of her images present unique and non-traditional impressions of women and the female body. She challenges audiences to view women not merely as sexual objects, but as vessels of human experience.

 Saudi Arabia has developed rapidly in recent decades, cultural attitudes towards women are evolving and women are gaining more rights. Hayfa is proud of the progress her country has made, and grateful for the freedoms she has to pursue her desires. This is one of her major inspirations, and she relates the emotional experiences of women throughout this cultural shift. She is optimistic about the future but recognizes that there is still a long way to go towards true equality. Her stories are a reminder that the struggle for emancipation and empowerment of women continues; the war is not yet won and there are still many victims suffering silently in patriarchal communities around the world.

 Although art gave her a means of expressing thoughts and emotions, there was still a lack of meaningful communication with others. This issue was resolved with another contemporary tool, social media.  Through her Instagram platform, “vivi art,” Hayfa broke free from the social and cultural constraints she grew up with. She overcame patriarchal oppression and freely spoke with the language she had created during the years of silence. She found a broader community that welcomed and encouraged her unique voice and perspective, and she was eager to participate. In 2021 she participated in and was shortlisted for the Emerging Scene Art Prize held in Dubai, and had her work showcased on screens all across Dubai.

 The acceptance she received from the global art community has encouraged Hayfa to further pursue her passion and to continue sharing her journey in the only language that can do it justice, her art. She is currently completing a Master of Fine Art at Pratt Institute in New York, after which she will fully delve into her work and make a complete emergence into the art scene. 2024 will see the debut exhibits from Hayfa, where audiences can look forward to experiencing her works the way she intended, in a full multi-media gallery setting.